Davis' record-tying homer helps O's roll into break
All-Star belts baseball-best 37th blast as Orioles top Jays in finale
BALTIMORE -- Chris Davis started the first half of the season with home runs in his first four games. He ended it the same way and didn't fare too badly in between.
Davis tied an American League record for home runs before the All-Star break with his 37th -- tops in the Major Leagues -- and finished the first-half finale with four RBIs to help the Orioles roll to a 7-4 victory against the Blue Jays on Sunday at Camden Yards.
Davis now has home runs in four consecutive games, tying Reggie Jackson's record from 1969 for most pre-break homers in the process. He went 2-for-4 in this contest, adding a two-run double during a four-run first that broke the game open early. Davis finished the first half with 93 RBIs and a .315 batting average.
He did so many things well in the first half, but it's the homers that everyone notices first.
"I think it's something definitely to be proud of," Davis said. "It means I've been doing my job, but it also speaks volumes about the guys in front of me really swinging the bats well."
He once again sent an opposite-field shot over the wall in left field in this one. Davis isn't just a dead-pull hitter. He can put the ball in many spots, and that's what makes him so dangerous this season.
"Superhuman," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "He's having some kind of year. I saw him a little bit when he was with Texas coming up. He can always hit home runs. He's gotten the opportunity here to play every day. He's taken advantage of it and it's pretty impressive."
Adam Jones added a solo homer and an RBI single, and scored three runs. He and Davis combined to drive in six of the team's seven runs (and score five) as the Orioles closed out the first half with a 53-43 record, right in the middle of a fight for a postseason berth.
"It was a 'W' for Baltimore, and that's what it's about," manager Buck Showalter said. "We've got 66 games left? Grinding like heck through the season, all the challenges, and now we've got a chance to roll the dice with 66 games and let's see if we can play in October. That's what it's all about. We've positioned ourselves to have a chance to compete for that opportunity."
All that offense made life much easier for Scott Feldman and helped the big right-hander win his first game with the Orioles.
Feldman (1-1) gave up three runs on five hits in 7 1/3 innings and kept the free-swinging Jays lineup quiet most of the day. He struck out seven and walked just one, staying out of trouble for most of the hot afternoon.
"It's a good way to wrap the first half," Feldman said. "I think [I had] just better command overall. I felt like I was able to locate to both sides of the plate."
This day began nicely for the Orioles, with the news that right-hander Chris Tillman had been picked as a late replacement for Tuesday's All-Star Game. He'll fill in for Justin Verlander, who started Sunday for Detroit.
The Orioles quickly took command by scoring four runs on five hits off Toronto starter Josh Johnson (1-5) in the first and adding two more in the third.
Nate McLouth led off with a single and Manny Machado moved him to second with one of his own. Jones then blooped a soft single to short right that drove in McLouth for a 1-0 lead.
After Nick Markakis flied out to deep right, Davis lined a two-run double to right. J.J. Hardy later added an RBI single to put the Orioles up, 4-0, after just seven batters. In the third, Jones walked and scored on Davis' homer to left that put Baltimore up, 6-0.
The Jays cut into the lead when Maicer Izturis hit a two-run single in the fourth. Jones got one back for the Orioles with a solo homer to center in the fifth to make it 7-2 and stop any Toronto (45-49) momentum. The Blue Jays added two in the ninth and brought the tying run to the plate, but Jim Johnson closed it for his 33rd save, tying him with Tippy Martinez for second all-time in franchise history with 105 career saves.